Week 9: Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold Cauliflower

Two days into his 9-show week, Andrew came down with a cold and was surprisingly cheerful about it. He usually saves his colds for the end of a run of a show, and was excited to get it out of the way while he was already committed to spending 6 nights a week in a dark room. Vacation was around the corner, and we were both hopeful that this meant he wouldn’t get sick again for it.

Having a cold while trying to use up a CSA comes with its own set of challenges, given that most recipes are fairly labor intensive and nobody actually feels like eating vegetables when they are sick. However, we did a pretty commendable job by cooking a combination of soups and flavor-filled Indian style side dishes.

Sausage and Kale Soup

Andrew threw together this soup before running off for his Saturday matinee. We’d bought the Italian sausage for another purpose that Andrew now deemed unappetizing. So he took half of it, sliced it thickly, and browned it briefly in a pot. Then he took the sausage out, threw in some diced onion and garlic, and sauteed everything until it was wilted. He poured in some chicken stock we had in the freezer, added back the sausage, and cooked until the sausage was just cooked through. He tossed in some kale and simmered for the last minute. He declared it tasty enough, given his compromised abilities to discern flavor.

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CSA ingredients used: 1/2 of the kale, onion

Other ingredients used: sausage, garlic, chicken broth

Indian-Style Cauliflower Pickles

Through a combination of lack of inspiration and denial, we had developed a fairly dire cauliflower situation—with three heads of cauliflower from three different CSA weeks piling up in the refrigerator. With the weather finally cooling off, I felt it was time to face the cauliflower head-on (sorry).  I found myself drawn to the gorgeous scarlet color of the cauliflower in this Indian-style pickle recipe. The only barrier was my limited experience with frying, but I didn’t give it much thought, since when applying flame to a large pot of oil, what can possibly go wrong?

  1. You start by dicing up the cauliflower into florets and soak them in salt water for 10 minutes. Let them dry completely. The recipe recommended setting them outside to dry in the sun, but I was concerned they would become squirrel/pigeon food, so I used the top of the stove instead.
  2. Next, heat between 150 ml and 200 ml of oil in a wide pan until it’s smoking, and then fry the cauliflower. I didn’t measure the oil before I dumped it in, and ended up with way, way, too much oil. The first batch of cauliflower that went it instantly turned a perfect color of golden brown, but as I fished it out I realized I was about to start a grease fire, so I turned the oil off and hoped the residual heat would fry the remaining cauliflower.
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Some of these cauliflower florets are not like the others.

3. Next, you roast 1/2 TBSP of fenugreek seeds, and put them in a spice grinder along with 1 1/2 TBSP of mustard seeds. At this stage in the process, you’re supposed to put the cauliflower back in the oil, but I didn’t because I misunderstood the directions.

4. Mix the cauliflower with the powdered seeds, 90 ml of red chile powder [editors note: this is a LOT of chile powder. I had to grind up dried chiles that I found in the pantry and they tasted like…absolutely nothing, since they were 3 years old], 1/4 tsp turmeric, and the juice of 3/4 lemons. You mix everything together, and pour it, along with the oil, into a container.

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Now it appears I didn’t use enough oil

In spite of all of the various mishaps, the final product was delicious—especially the cauliflowers that had actually fried.

CSA ingredients used: 1 head of caulilfower

Other ingredients used: peanut oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, lemons, red chiles.

Roasted Beets with Chiles, Ginger, Yogurt, and Indian Spices

We very intelligently grilled the beets earlier in the week—wrapping them in foil and nestling them next to the coals while we were grilling the ratatouille—but then we forgot about them for a few days. When I rediscovered them, I also chose this salad with Indian spices from Melissa Clark, which looked both delicious and like something that Andrew might be able to taste as he entered the next stage of his cold.

  1. Slice up the beets into little cubes.
  2. Mince 1 clove of garlic and mash it up with a teaspoon of salt. Next, add 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 of a diced jalapeno pepper, a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, and 1 tsp of lime juice, and some salt.
  3. Spread the dressing on the beets.

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CSA vegetables used: beets

Other ingredients used: yogurt, mustard seeds, jalapeno, ginger, lime.

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

With one cauliflower down, I was excited to see what I could do with the next one.  I had been searching all over for a recipe for cauliflower soup that seemed appealing in the middle of summer, and was unmoved until I discovered this one from Melissa Clark that used a combination of lemon and miso and would address some CSA carrots to boot. We substituted chicken broth for vegetable broth or water, because while I trusted Melissa Clark, I felt that when cooking with cauliflower you need all the help you can get.

  1. Toast 1 TB coriander for 2-3 minutes under they were fragrant. Then smoosh them in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat 1 TB oil in a large pot. Cook 2 cups of diced onions until they are soft, and then add a clove of garlic and cook for 1 minutes.
  3. Add 1 TB of diced carrots, the crushed coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 6 cups of chicken broth, along with 3 TB of white miso. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, and then cover and cook another 10 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to liquify everything. Before eating, stir in 4 TB of lemon juice.

This was one of my favorite cauliflower dishes so far and we still had a fair amount of cauliflower and carrots left, so I made another batch to freeze for later (along with a note to myself to remember to add lemon when I defrosted it).

CSA ingredients used: 1 head of cauliflower, 5 carrots, 1 large onion, garlic.

Other ingredients used: coriander, salt, chicken broth, white miso.

Next: The perfect CSA recipe, if I could remember how to say it.

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